nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2007‒08‒08
thirteen papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Why Do Japanese Workers Remain in the Labor Force So Long? By John B. Williamson; Masa Higo; ;
  2. Employer Attitudes towards Older Workers: Survey Results By Alicia H. Munnell; Steven A. Sass; Mauricio Soto;
  3. Family strategies, labor market behavior and fertility in modern Russia By Kartseva Marina; Sinavskaya Oksana; Zakharov Sergey
  4. Earnings Functions and the Measurement of the Determinants of Wage Dispersion: Extending Oaxaca's Approach By Jacques Silber; Joseph Deutsch
  5. Ajuste ocupacional y pluriempleo de los médicos: ¿Importan las parejas? By Juan J. Dolado; Florentino Felgueroso
  6. Limited Self-Control, Obesity and the Loss of Happiness By Alois Stutzer
  7. Social Attitudes and Economic Development: An Epidemiological Approach By Yann Algan; Pierre Cahuc
  8. Women's earning power and wellbeing By Nanak Kakwani; Hyun H. Son
  9. What is Poverty? By Nanak Kakwani
  10. The Reliability of Subjective Well-Being Measures By Alan B. Krueger; David A. Schkade
  11. Preparing America’s Workforce: Are We Looking in the Rear-View Mirror? By Alan S. Blinder
  13. The Effects of Welfare and Child Support Policies on Maternal Health and Wellbeing By Jean Knab; Sara McLanahan; Irv Garfinkel

  1. By: John B. Williamson; Masa Higo (Center for Retirement Research, Boston College); ;
    Abstract: As part of the search for answers to questions about what could be done to increase labor force participation rates among older workers in the United States, it makes sense to take a close look at evidence from Japan, one of the few industrial countries with a higher labor force participation rate among older workers than the United States. The gap is particularly large for male workers. The focus of this study is on six factors which help explain why Japanese workers remain in the labor force as long as they do: (1) perceived economic necessity; (2) the large fraction of workers who are self-employed; (3) a culture that puts a high value on being a productive member of the paid labor force, particularly for men; (4) the government’s role in facilitating the labor force participation of older workers; (5) the long healthy life expectancy; and (6) the distinctive corporate culture’s effects on marital dynamics among older generations. Based on the evidence from Japan, three policy suggestions are outlined for those seeking to increase labor force participation rates among older U.S. workers: (1) increase the financial incentive to workers who remain in the labor force; (2) increase the extent of government efforts to link older workers to prospective employers; and (3) improve public programs designed to foster efforts by older workers to become self-employed.
    Keywords: Japanese works, Japan, labor force, longevity, older workers
    Date: 2007–05
  2. By: Alicia H. Munnell; Steven A. Sass (Center for Retirement Research, Boston College); Mauricio Soto (Center for Retirement Research, Boston College);
    Abstract: Today men on average retire at 63 and women at 62, and they can expect to spend 20 years in retirement. But if Americans continue to retire as early as they do today, many will not have adequate income once they stop working. Social Security will provide less relative to pre-retirement earnings as the normal retirement age rises from 65 to 67 and those lucky enough to have a 401(k) plan are likely to find their balances inadequate. One solution to the retirement security challenge is for people to work longer. Working longer directly increases a person’s current income; it avoids the actuarial reduction in Social Security benefits; it allows people to contribute more to their 401(k) plans; it allows their assets more time to accumulate investment earnings; and it shortens the period over which people have to support themselves with their retirement assets. So it stands to reason that workers would choose to extend their careers. But will they find employment? Some evidence suggests that employers have not been especially fond of older workers. For example, older workers who lose a job have had a much harder time finding another. And many employers actually use sweetened early retirement incentives to get older workers to leave. On the other hand, today’s older workers are far better educated than older workers just a decade ago; they are more physically fit; and the shift from goods-producing to services-producing jobs has reduced the physical demands of work, which should enhance the employment prospects of older workers. To get a better understanding of the employment prospects of older workers, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR) conducted a survey of 400 private sector employers. These employers were asked to evaluate the relative productivity and cost of white-collar and rank-and-file workers age 55 and older and whether, on balance, older employees or job candidates were more or less attractive than their younger counterparts.
    Keywords: older workers, employer attitudes, normal retirement age, working longer, actuarial reductions, social security benefits, 401(k) plans, survey, private sector employers, relative productivity, white collar, preference, attractive
    Date: 2006–07
  3. By: Kartseva Marina; Sinavskaya Oksana; Zakharov Sergey
    Abstract: Poor in Russia are mainly families with children mostly because of the unemployment or inactivity of a parent. This project is aimed at revealing typical models of demographic and labor market behavior and understanding how decisions regarding family formation and labor force participation are synchronized at the household level.
    Date: 2007–07–26
  4. By: Jacques Silber; Joseph Deutsch
    Abstract: This paper extends the famous Blinder (1973) and Oaxaca (1973) discrimination analysis in several directions. First the wage difference breakdown is not limited to two groups. Second a decomposition technique is proposed that allows analyzing the determinants of the overall wage dispersion. The approach presented combines two techniques. The first one is popular in the field of income inequality measurement and concerns the breakdown of inequality by population subgroups. The second one, very common in the labor economics literature, uses Mincerian earnings functions to derive a decomposition of wage differences into components measuring respectively group differences in the average values of the explanatory variables, in the coefficients of these variables in the earnings functions and in the unobservable characteristics. This methodological novelty allows one to determine the exact impact of each of these three elements on the overall wage dispersion, on the dispersion within and between groups and on the degree of overlap between the wage distributions of the various groups.
  5. By: Juan J. Dolado; Florentino Felgueroso
    Abstract: Existen importantes diferencias de género en las situaciones laborales de los titulados superiores del sector sanitario: las mujeres ejercen su profesión en menor medida que los hombres y, cuando lo hacen, su tasa de temporalidad es más elevada. Los varones, por contra, también complementan el ejercicio de su profesión con un segundo empleo en mayor medida que las mujeres. El objetivo de este artículo es investigar si estas diferencias pueden estar relacionadas con características monopsonísticas imperantes en el mercado de trabajo de los titulados superiores de la sanidad. Además de poder ejercer su profesión en un escaso número de establecimientos en el ámbito local, los oferentes tienen unas características personales que podrían reducir su movilidad geográfica en búsqueda de un ajuste ocupacional óptimo: entre todos los titulados universitarios, los de Ciencias de la Salud son los que más están emparejados con personas del mismo nivel educativo y/o del mismo tipo de estudios. En consecuencia, el ajuste ocupacional óptimo de los miembros de la pareja puede resultar aún más complejo. Esta situación permite aportar evidencias sobre un nuevo tipo de discriminación de género, denominado “discriminación intra-pareja”, que surge cuando la movilidad geográfica de la pareja favorece a los varones, de manera que logran un mejor ajuste que las mujeres, pese a disponer del mismo capital humano. Finalmente, también se analiza si el pluriempleo puede interpretarse como una forma de evitar los efectos monopsonistas del mercado laboral, al aumentar la elasticidad de la oferta de trabajo.
  6. By: Alois Stutzer (University of Basel and IZA)
    Abstract: Obesity has become a major health issue. Research in economics has provided important insights as to how technological progress reduced the relative price of food and contributed to the increase in obesity. However, the increased availability of food might well have overstrained will power and led to suboptimal consumption decisions relative to people’s own standards. We propose the economics of happiness as an approach to study the phenomenon. Based on proxy measures for experienced utility, it is possible to directly address whether certain observed behavior is suboptimal and therefore reduces a person’s well-being. It is found that obesity decreases the well-being of individuals who report limited self-control, but not otherwise.
    Keywords: obesity, revealed preference, self-control problem, subjective well-being
    JEL: D12 D91 I12 I31
    Date: 2007–07
  7. By: Yann Algan (Université Marne la Vallée, CEPREMAP and IZA); Pierre Cahuc (University Paris 1, CREST-INSEE, CEPR and IZA)
    Abstract: In this paper we develop a new empirical approach to uncovering the impact of social attitudes on economic development. We first show that trust of second-generation Americans is significantly influenced by the country of origin of their forebears. In the spirit of the epidemiology literature, we interpret this phenomenon as the consequence of inherited social attitudes. We show that trust inherited by second-generation Americans from their country of origins has changed over time. This result allows us to use the inherited trust of secondgeneration Americans as a time-varying instrument to track back the evolution of trust in the home country of their parents. This strategy enables us to identify the specific impact of inherited trust on economic development relative to other traditional candidates, such as institutions and geography, by controlling for country fixed effects. We find that inherited trust has explained a substantial share of economic development on a sample of 30 countries during the post-war period, by improving total factor productivity and the accumulation of human and physical capital.
    Keywords: social capital, trust, economic development, growth
    JEL: O10 F10 P10 N13
    Date: 2007–07
  8. By: Nanak Kakwani (International Poverty Centre); Hyun H. Son (International Poverty Centre)
    Abstract: .
    Keywords: Poverty, Women?s
    Date: 2006–04
  9. By: Nanak Kakwani (International Poverty Centre)
    Abstract: .
    Keywords: Poverty
    Date: 2006–09
  10. By: Alan B. Krueger (Princeton University); David A. Schkade (University of California, San Diego)
    Abstract: Economists are increasingly analyzing data on subjective well-being. Since 2000, 157 papers and numerous books have been published in the economics literature using data on life satisfaction or subjective well-being, according to a search of Econ Lit.1 Here we analyze the test-retest reliability of two measures of subjective well-being: a standard life satisfaction question and affective experience measures derived from the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM). Although economists have longstanding reservations about the feasibility of interpersonal comparisons of utility that we can only partially address here, another question concerns the reliability of such measurements for the same set of individuals over time. Overall life satisfaction should not change very much from week to week. Likewise, individuals who have similar routines from week to week should experience similar feelings over time. How persistent are individuals’ responses to subjective well-being questions? To anticipate our main findings, both measures of subjective well-being (life satisfaction and affective experience) display a serial correlation of about 0.60 when assessed two weeks apart, which is lower than the reliability ratios typically found for education, income and many other common micro economic variables (Bound, Brown, and Mathiowetz, 2001 and Angrist and Krueger, 1999), but high enough to support much of the research that has been undertaken on subjective well-being.
    Date: 2007–01
  11. By: Alan S. Blinder (Princeton University)
    Abstract: The great conservative political philosopher Edmund Burke, who probably would not have been a reader of The American Prospect, once observed, You can never plan the future by the past. But when it comes to preparing the American workforce for the jobs of the future, we may be doing just that. For about a quarter-century, demand for labor appears to have shifted toward the college-educated and away from high school graduates and dropouts. This shift, most economists believe, is the primary (though not the sole) reason for rising income inequality, and there is no end in sight. Economists refer to this phenomenon by an antiseptic name: skill-biased technical progress. In plain English, it means that the labor market has turned ferociously against the low skilled and the uneducated.
    Date: 2006–10
  12. By: Marcia J. Carlson (Columbia University); Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr. (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: At the nexus of changing marital and fertility behavior is a new reality of contemporary family life—the fact that a significant fraction of adults today (will) have biological children by more than one partner, sometimes called ‘multi-partnered fertility.’ In this paper, we use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to explore the consequences of multi-partnered fertility for family relationships about three years after a baby’s birth. We find that earlier parental obligations are strongly linked to the focal couple’s relationship quality and their ability to co-parent effectively. Fathers’ having previous children is particularly deleterious—at least from mothers’ perspectives. We discuss the implications of our findings for family roles in childrearing, the organization of kin networks, and current public policies.
    Date: 2007–05
  13. By: Jean Knab (Princeton University); Sara McLanahan (Princeton University); Irv Garfinkel (Columbia University)
    Abstract: In 1996 the U.S. Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), substantially reducing a family’s rights to income support. PRWORA removed the entitlement to government-provided cash assistance and increased states’ incentives to reduce welfare caseloads. At the same time it increased private responsibilities by encouraging greater work effort from mothers and more child support payments from non-resident fathers. The PRWORA provisions raised concerns within the medical community and among other advocates interested in the health and wellbeing of at-risk families. The changes to cash welfare and child support policies had potential direct and indirect consequences for women’s health. Most directly, by removing the entitlement to welfare, many feared that poor women would lose their health insurance coverage. While PRWORA included a provision to hold Medicaid eligibility constant, the administrative barriers to implementation by program staff and the confusing new rules suggested that many eligible women might lose coverage.
    Date: 2007–03

This nep-ltv issue is ©2007 by Maximo Rossi. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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